Ruto Addresses Tax Increase as Govt Mulls New Levies
On Tuesday, March 28, President William Ruto addressed the tax debate and aggressive tax collection measures his government has taken since he took over the reins
Speaking in an interview with Deutsche Welle (DW) in Berlin, Germany, the Head of State maintained that Kenya’s taxation was not punitive for its citizen.
“There are no increases of any taxes we have proposed that are punitive. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has no role in how we run the affairs of our country. We are in charge of the economy,” Ruto noted.
He also extolled the steps his administration has taken to stabilise the economy since his ascension to power noting that the previous regime had left it at a very dilapidated state
President William Ruto speaking during the Germany-Kenya Business Forum at Haus der Wirtschaft, Berlin on Monday, March 27, 2023.
The President explained that his Government had given fertiliser and seeds to farmers, imported food to tamper down commodity prices, and made long-time investment in irrigation farming.
He noted that when he took over the reins, Kenya could not access international financial markets but today, Kenya can access those markets due to the stable economy.
This revelation came on the backdrop of the February meeting between President Ruto and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.
In the meeting, the IMF backed Ruto’s plan to increase tax mobilisation by targetting tax evaders and increasing the country’s tax base.
On the same day, Cabinet Secretary for Trade and Investments, Moses Kuria, proposed a new tax called the Investment Promotion Levy.
The levy will see additional charges imposed on any imported goods that can be manufactured locally. The ministry noted that if the law is passed, the funds collected will be used to improve the domestic industry.
He added that the revenue will also be used to build capacity for the Kenyan economy and increase export growth from 6 per cent to 25 per cent, thus, improving Kenya’s balance of trade.
This additional tax proposal came as former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has stated that the government should reduce the cost of food as a condition for stopping protests which are now in their second week.
Being a net importer of food, this tax proposal will increase the price of imported food. Kenya, which relies on imported food periodically, commissioned grain from Ukraine in March 2023 which was received by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.
Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria addressing investors after signing of a deal with a UK firm on Wednesday, March 22, 2023.